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Wensleydale Way, Inc. v. Fleet Car Lease Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

January 23, 2019

WENSLEYDALE WAY, INC., a New Jersey Corporation and ANRA TRUCKING INCORPORATED, a New York Corporation, Plaintiffs,
v.
FLEET CAR LEASE INC, a Utah corporation registered to do business in Colorado d/b/a Fleet Car Carrier, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          R. BROOKE JACKSON JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on defendant Fleet Car Lease's (“Fleet Car”) motion to dismiss [ECF No. 26] plaintiffs' first amended complaint [ECF No. 24]. For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Fleet Car is an “authorized motor carrier” that provides transportation of property in interstate commerce. Amended Complaint, ECF No. 24 at ¶24. Fleet Car doesn't use its own drivers or equipment to transport property. Id. Instead, Fleet Car enters into leases with independent owner-operators to drive their own trucks to transport Fleet Car's property. Id. These owner-operators are basically independent contractors. ECF No. 27 at 1. Plaintiffs Wensleydale and Anra are such lessors of trucks and driving services which Fleet Car uses to transport motor vehicles to retail destinations. ECF No. 24 at ¶24; ECF No. 26 at 2. Although it appears that Wensleydale and Anra are wholly independent of each other, their claims and leases with defendant are substantially similar in all respects. See ECF No. 24 at ¶¶12-13.

         As an authorized motor carrier, federal leasing regulations require that Fleet Car enter into written leases with owner-operators called authorized carrier leases (“ACLs”).[1] 49 C.F.R. § 376.11(a). Section § 376.12 governs the requirements of that lease; it requires that the ACLs contain, among other requirements, specific disclosures such as the amount of compensation owed for the services provided and any deductions that might be taken from the owner-operators' compensation. In this case, Fleet Car entered into seven ACLs with Wensleydale and three with Anra. ECF No. 24 at ¶¶10-11.

         Plaintiffs allege that Fleet Car has a “pattern and practice of conduct” of violating the leasing requirements found in § 376.12. ECF No. 24 at ¶2. Specifically, in their first five claims for relief, plaintiffs assert that Fleet Car violated five separate subsections of § 376.12:

• failure to provide rated freight bill on request (§ 376.12(g));
• unlawful reduction of compensation (§ 376.12(d), (g));
• failure to provide compensation within payment period (§ 376.12(f));
• failure to provide insurance and chargeback information (§ 376.12(j)(2)); and
• failure to provide information regarding deduction for property damages (§ 376.12(j)(3)). See Id. at ¶¶19-50.

         Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on November 29, 2017. Complaint, ECF No. 1. In their amended complaint, plaintiffs assert ten claims. ECF No. 24. As I highlighted above, the first five claims allege violations of federal leasing regulations. The remaining claims involve breach of contract claims arising under Colorado law. These claims include the following:

• breach of contract for failure to pay compensation to contractor;
• breach of contract for unauthorized and illegitimate chargeback items;
• breach of contract for unauthorized deductions from compensation;
• breach of contract for overcharges for insurance contracts and ...

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